Jenny’s Food & Ag Update April 27, 2016

  • Palestinians create seed bank to save their farming heritage in the Holy Land’s hills (The Guardian)                  In the birthplace of agriculture, traditional crops are dying out. But one woman has a plan to preserve them
  • The Seed-Saving Farmers Securing the Future of Food (Yes!)                                                                                              The problems of – and the solutions for – our industrialized food system start at the most basic level: the seed.
  • Archaeologists Dig Up An 800-Year-Old Native American Pot. What They Found Inside Is Changing History (CFWE)
  • How a Health Clinic Made a Local Grocery Store Part of Its Prescription (Yes!)                                                      A partnership between a Boston health clinic and a local grocery shows what economic development can do when it makes community health a priority.
  • Vandana Shiva: How Biodiversity – Not Toxic Monocultures – Sustainably and Efficiently Feeds the World (AlterNet)                                                                                  Chemical-intensive monocultures produce less food per acre than biodiverse, ecological farms.
  • Going to Pot (Takepart)                              Humboldt County’s marijuana boom is destroying a unique redwood forest ecosystem and killing some of California’s rarest wildlife. Now veteran pot farmers are fighting the ‘green rush’ to make cannabis cultivation truly sustainable.
  • No US Standards, Pot Pesticide use Is Rising Public Health Threat (Food & Environmental Reporting Network)
  • SoCal Grocery Store on Wheels Tackles Food Access Challenges (Seed Stock)
    • (Toronto) Metro Buses Converted Into Mobile Food Markets For Low Income Neighborhoods (Black Business)
  • The 10 most vegetarian countries in the world – in order of meatlessness (collectively)
  • The Dairy of the Future Could Come From 3-D Printers, Not Cows (takepart)                                                    Making milk, cheese, butter, and other products by printing with sodium caseinate may be healthier and more sustainable.
    • Select Committee on GRAS Substances (SCOGS) Opinion: Calcium caseinate: Casein; Sodium caseinate (FDA)                                                                                    Now imitation milk and dairy products…
  • Chicago Council highlights market-driven horticulture projects in Zambia (UC Davis)
  • Patrick Holden: ‘cheap’ food is costing the Earth, and our health (The Ecologist)
  • From N16 to SW9: How London’s Urban Farmers are Cultivating the City (modern farmer)
  • Tobacco, Alcohol, and Processed Food Industries – Why Do Public Health Practitioners View Them So Differently? (frontiers in Public Health)
  • Future of You: Stanford’s Virtual Reality Lab Turned Me Into a Cow, The Sent Me to the Slaughterhouse (KQED)


Hunger, Food Access & Insecurity, Obesity & Malnutrition

  • Six Years After Recession, Many rural Families Still Rely on School Pantries (takepart)                            Outside cities, child hunger rates are higher and employment rates lag. That’s why school-based pantries are a popular way to feed families.
  • Idaho’s Shift In Food Stamps Timing Could Make For Empty Bellies On Independence Day (Think Progress)
  • Starvation in Australia: Utopia’s dirty secret (The Ecologist)                                                                                Australian governments have long waged a one-sided ware on the continent’s Aboriginal peoples…
  • Q&A: Bill Shore, Hunger Activist, Co-Founder, Share Our Strength (UC Food Observer)


Gleaning, Reuse, Recycling, Composting & Waste

  • What Can A Strawberry Teach Americans About Food Waste? A Lot, Groups Hope (Think Progress)


Children & School Food

  • First Lady’s visit highlights Newark school’s innovative food program (Brick City Live)
  • Brazil’s School Food Revolution (Medium)  In an effort to help nutrition and rural economies, a new law mandates that 30 per cent of school food be purchased from smallholder farmers…
  • The Most Sustainable Restaurant In The World Might Be This School Cafeteria (Fast Co Exist)



  • Why America’s impressive 5% unemployment rate feels like a lie for so many (Quartz)
  • What does Student Loan Forgiveness Have to Do with Farming? Everything. (Civil Eats)                                          As more farmers retire, some lawmakers see student loan forgiveness as key to keeping small-scale producers on the land.
  • The Racist, Twisted History of Tipping (Mother Jones)                                                                                  Gratuities were once an excuse to shortchange black people. In fact, they still are.
  • Guest worker program provides labor, poses difficulties for San Luis Obispo County growers (San Luis Obispo Tribune)
  • New York City’s Ambitious Ban-The-Box Law Is Already Transforming Lives (Think Progress)
  • NLRB issues historic Complaint against company alleging that misclassification violates workers’ right to form a union (Justice for Port Truck Drivers)
  • Teamsters, Working Partnerships USA, Jobs With Justice Escalate Protests Against Abuses In Chipotle’s Supply Chain (PR News)                                                                Chipotle Supplier Taylor Farms Criticized for Food and Worker Safety Issues
  • Worker Cooperative Are More Productive Than Normal Companies (The Nation)                              When maximizing profits isn’t the only goal, companies can actually work better.


Business, Social Enterprise & Our Economy

  • Victory for Walmart Employees: $224 Million Awarded for Stolen Lunch Breaks (Nation of Change)      In addition to paying wages so low that many employees qualify for food stamps, Medicaid, and housing subsidies…
  • Why Organic Restaurant Certification Matters (Civil Eats)
  • After A Year, Seattle’s New Minimum Wage Hasn’t Raised Retail Prices (Fast Co. Exist)                                  Business owners did a bunch of handwringing about how damaging to the economy the wage increase would be. But so far, they’re wrong.




Food Fraud/Scandals

  • The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) and Battelle Launch Tool to Fight Food Fraud (PR News)  EMAlert enables food manufacturers to manage vulnerability to Economically Motivated Adulteration (EMA)


Water & Our Oceans

  • Watch: River Explodes Into Flames From Methane Coming From Nearby Fracking Sites (EcoWatch)
  • Will Fracking-Induced Earthquakes cause the Next Coal Ash Disaster? (Earth Justice)
  • How To Get Cleaner Water For 700 Million People (Huffington Post)                                                                            Let nature take the wheel.
  • Navajo Water Supply is More Horrific than Flint, But No One Cares Because they’re Native American (Native American News)
  • Sperm Whales Found Dead In Germany, Stomachs FULL Of Plastic And Car Parts (True Activist)
  • Pacific Bluefin Tuna Population Has Dropped 97% From Historic Levels (Time)                                                                    In some areas, Bluefin tuna is harvested at triple the levels considered to be sustainable
  • Scientists Have Discovered a 600-Mile Coral Reef (The Atlantic)                                                                                      It’s at the mouth of the Amazon River


Government/Regulation/Policy/Farm Bill

  • USDA Sued for Corporate Hijack of Organic Industry Governing Board (The Cornucopia Institute)
  • The EPA’s Silent, Guilty Role in the Flint Water Crisis (New Republic)                                                          Michigan’s governor has borne the brunt of the blame, but there’s plenty to go around.
  • Let’s not lag on calorie labeling at restaurants (medium)                                                                                                It’s been six years since Congress passed a national policy to allow people to make informed choices when eating out…
  • Maryland To Become The Second State To Guarantee Fair Minimum Wage For Workers With Disabilities (Think Progress)                                                                                                It is legal to pay as little as $0.06 per hour to the disabled.
  • Mississippi Budget Strained As Less Go To Prison; State Requires Slave Labor To Function Fiscally (The Intellectualist)
    • Slave Labor – A Calm Revolt in Georgia Brings This Issue to the National Spotlight (Daily Kos)


GMOs/Cloning/Food Technology/Synthetic Biology/Nanotechnology

  • GMA Calls on Senate to stand Up for Agricultural Biotechnology to Protect Farmers and Consumers (PR Newswire)                       During GMA Science Forum, President and CEO call for action to head off reformulation
  • Nationwide GMO labeling, insurance coverage & increased enforcement top Natural Products Association’s wish list on Capitol Hill (Food Navigator)
  • Industry fingerprints all over Reuters’ attack on IARC over glyphosate and canter (The Ecologist)
  • GMO Mushroom Sidesteps USDA Regulations (Buzz Flash)
    • This Tiny Mushroom Could Pave The Way To Curbine Hunger (Huffington Post)                                           The genetically altered mushroom was cleared by the USDA
  • CRISPR Is Going To Revolutionize Our Food System – And Start A New War Over GMOs (Fast Company)
  • Nutritionally-enhanced GM crops? Too bad about the deformed butterflies (The Ecologist)
    • Study: Long-Chain Omega-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids Have Developmental Effects of the Crop Pest, the Cabbage White Butterfly Pieris rapae (PLOS one)



  • The Creepy Way Processed Food Packaging Messes With Your Hormones (AlterNet)
    • Study: Recent Fast Food Consumption and Bisphenol A And Phthalates Exposures among the US Population in NHANES, 2003-2010 (Environmental Health Perspectives)
  • Fracking a Possible Cause of Disturbing Birth Defects and Deaths Found in Horses (AlterNet)                      Research has linked the presence of the byproducts of hydraulic fracturing to numerous animal deaths and stillbirths.
  • Private Tests Show Cancer-Linked Herbicide in Breakfast Foods: FDA mum on Its Assessments (Huffington Post)
    • Report: Glyphosate Levels in Breakfast Foods (Alliance for Natural Health USA)                                            … The major finding from this analysis is that glypohosate is showing up in food products where it’s not intended to be, supporting claims made by many critics that glyphosate is far more ubiquitous in our food system than the public is made to believe…
  • Report Exposes Food Industry Cover-up (The Cornucopia Institute)
    • Carrageenan: New studies Reinforce Link to Inflammation, Cancer and Diabetes (The Cornucopia Institute)



  • Markham (Ontario) becomes Canada’s first monarch friendly city (David Suzuki Foundation)



  • California Poultry Update (UC Food Observer)                                                                        “Commercial table egg production has gone through huge changes in the last few year – from conventional systems to enriched cages to new cage free poultry systems. The pendulum has swung very far, very fast.”
  • Animal welfare regulation in the UK is about to take a massive, gruesome U-turn (collectively)                        The UK Government’s deregulation plans for parts of the animal agricultural industries means that barbaric practices like ‘tail-docking’ will be easier to justify. So… Why?


Healthy/Safe Food

  • Whole Milk May Have a Surprising Health Benefit (takepart)                                                                                      Recent research shows that full-fat dairy isn’t so bad for you after all.
  • Circulating Biomarkers of Dairy Fat and Risk of Incident Diabetes Mellitus Among US Men and Women in Two Large Prospective Cohorts (Circulation America Heart Association Journal)



  • $5 Million Available For Farmer Food Safety Training Projects (National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition)



  • Feedback, Together With A Coalition Of Partners, Brings Popular Food Waste Awareness Festival To America To Take Food Waste #OffTheMenu (PR News)                    Partnership of NGOs, Civic Institutions, and Chefs Offer Free Lunch for 5,000 in #FEEDING5000 Events in New York City (May 10) and Washington DC (May 18)
  • Defining Good Food: UVM Presents 5th Annual Food Systems Summit June 14-15, 2016 (UVM Food Feed)